Tuesday, May 27, 2014

An open letter to the new European Parliament

Like many other European citizens I am still comming to grips with the results of our recent elections and what it all means to us, the citizens of Europe, the building blocks without which this, or any other Europe, cannot, will not exist.
The most recent comments, by the Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman, indicate that the European leaders are in complete denial with respect to the role of the Euro currency in the election outcomes.
This observation regarding the complete denial of the European leadership is, I am sure, very accurate but very incomplete. The European leadership is in complete denial about many other social problems whose symptoms are all out in the open and about which many observers and analysts have repeatedly spoken and written about.
It is obvious that, to the European leaders, all problems are economic problems, and all other problems, whatever they may be, including the current European crisis, can be solved with manipulations of the Euro currency. That is it! 
And this is very dangerous thinking coming from politicians at such a high level. The EU is in crisis for many other reasons.
The EU is in crisis because:
  • trust between people and government institutions is at an all-time low,
  • trust among people from various countries, not only within the EU, but among all world people, is at an all-time low,
  • war mongering is at an all-time high, while peace proposals are at an all-time low,
  • the impoverishment of the population at large is reaching all-time highs,
  • wealth inequality has reached an all-time high, and people see no end to this socially toxic trend, perhaps the single biggest cause of the extremism and populism that highlighted our recent elections,
  • public fund misuse is at an all-time high, not to speak of corruption,
  • unemployment for all age groups, has reached an all-time high
  • employment opportunities, for all age groups, is at an all-time low
  • social and individual anxiety levels over the ability to earn a dignified living is at an all-time high, yet the EU has set the goal to reach the rate of 70% full-time employment, while the remainder 30% will have to do with temporary or part-time work,
  • the cost of health care has been rising and its quality has been dropping while we can only foresee more cost increases and quality cuts,
  • the cost of education has been rising and its quality has been dropping while we have come to expect more cost increases and quality cuts,
  • fuel costs have reached an all-time high, and the EU has no concerted plan to address the coming fossil fuel crisis,
  • environmental degradation costs are affecting every citizen and every country in the EU, while the politicians have shown no political will to address its dangerous trends,
  • climate change has more than given us indicators that all is not well, while the EU governance has shown no political will to address what the citizens of the EU as well as worldwide wisdom consider as very dangerous trends.
I could enumerate a few more indicators of the EU crisis. Indicators of great value to the achievement of a successful European society. The EU economists publish them regularly. The EU website publishes them too.

These are the reasons why the EU is in crisis and the reasons why, as Mr. Barroso, once well indicated, neither the citizens of the EU nor the World at large seem to have much confidence in what we call Europe.

That is why we saw so many radical groups, defending radical, albeit populist and simplistic agendas, come up with unprecedented successes in these recent elections. 

And so I urge all politicians in Brussels to come down from their ivory towers and talk to the people on the street and check it out for themselves. I urge all of them, the newly elected as well as those who kept their posts, not to rely on the reports received on their desks and written by their staff sitting at their desks.
That will be much more constructive to the strengthening of the EU we all hope for than patronizing statements that say that "Europe's member states on their own are no longer able to effectively steer the course of events".
Whatever that may mean.

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